GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — It was a bittersweet day for a Greensboro mother.
Barbara Townsend’s son was supposed to be among the Page High School graduates receiving diplomas, instead, she stood in his place.
Malik Ramirez drowned two years ago after jumping into Buffalo Lake across Cone Blvd. from the Page campus.
On Tuesday, Townsend bravely donned the Page Pirates red and took the stage in memory of her son.
Ramirez was one of two students in his graduating class who died too soon.
Townsend wants grieving parents to know you are never alone.
“Parents are not supposed to bury their kids, but that’s where we at now, that’s what’s going on now, so I just want to help them out and let them know they are not in this by themselves. We are going to get through this together,” Townsend said.
She launched the nonprofit, Next Step Loved Ones. Part of its mission is to counsel families going through the loss of a child. She and her sister started a support group this month to help others heal from heartache.
“Don’t be shy and if you don’t want to speak now, we will stand back and after it’s over with if you have anything you would like to say come up to us and talk or call us. We are going to be there for them,” said Lucille Jones, Ramirez’s aunt.
The group sessions are every other Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Tabernacle of Meeting. You can find the church on South Westgate Drive in Greensboro.